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BC misfires vs. Clemson, tourney hopes take shot 03.11.11 at 5:57 pm ET
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Clemson's Demontez Stitt shoots over BC's Reggie Jackson during Friday's game in Greensboro, N.C. (AP)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Following his team’s 70-47 rout of Boston College on Thursday afternoon, Clemson coach Brad Brownell talked about how BC is difficult to defend.

“Most teams don’t have five 3-point shooters,” he said. “We’re lucky if we have three on the floor. They can put five on the floor. It presents a challenge.”

However, when all five of those players can’t find their range, the problem is BC’s. And it’s a big one. That’s what happened in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, as the Eagles missed 11 of their first 12 shots, fell behind 17-3, and after closing to within six, were blown out of the Greensboro Coliseum in the second half.

Joe Trapani scored 20 points to lead BC. Reggie Jackson scored 11 but was 1-for-6 from 3-point range and had six turnovers. Corey Raji struggled with 1-for-10 shooting.

Demontez Stitt led the way for Clemson with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

As if there were any signs before the game that BC was not at its best, Jackson tried to find some humor in a quiet BC locker room. “The only foreshadowing was we hit too many shots in warmups,” he said. “Because we shot poorly in warmups yesterday [before shooting 53.7 percent in a rout of Wake Forest]. Obviously, it seemed like we were getting our misses out yesterday. [Friday] we got our makes out of the way and it hurt us throughout the game.”

BC finished at 34 percent overall and 25 percent from 3-point range. Clemson, meanwhile, hit 45.1 percent from the field and 47.1 percent behind the arc. The Tigers also outrebounded the Eagles 39-26, which is not that big a surprise considering how many shots BC missed.

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Tourney talk: Eagles jelling at right time 03.06.11 at 10:45 pm ET
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It would be easy to dismiss Boston College’s 84-68 victory over Wake Forest as an expected win over the last-place team in the ACC. However, for a BC team that was picked to finish 10th in a preseason poll, not much was expected to come easy this season.

Instead, the Eagles managed to tie for fourth place in the league, and Sunday’s rout earned them the fifth seed in the ACC tournament and a rematch with the Demon Deacons in Thursday’s opening round.

BC has been on a roll since a disappointing home loss to Miami on Feb. 23. After that game, coach Steve Donahue inserted senior walk-on John Cahill into the starting lineup and gave him big minutes, and it’s paid off with three straight wins to close out the regular season.

On Sunday, BC’s offense again was incredibly efficient. The Eagles shot a season-high 58.2 percent from the field and had 23 assists on their 32 baskets. Reggie Jackson led the way with seven helpers, followed by four each from Biko Paris and center Josh Southern and three from Joe Trapani.

“I thought we did a very good job of attacking their defense, making them overreact, and then sharing the ball,” Donahue said. “That’s kind of what I preach every day. And then once we get the defense chasing us, to make the extra pass. I thought we did a great job.

“And the other thing is I think we’re now ready to shoot the ball every time we catch it. Sometimes there we’re trying to do too much, where Biko is not ready to shoot it and he’s passing up shots. which I think hurts you as well. That’s not being selfish, that’s being smart. And I thought we did that today.”

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Reggie Jackson, Eagles look to rebound vs. North Carolina 02.01.11 at 10:52 am ET
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Freshman Harrison Barnes and the Tar Heels are on a roll as UNC visits Conte Forum on Tuesday night looking to end a two-game losing streak vs. BC. (AP)

According to an analysis in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Boston College standout Reggie Jackson is the fifth-most valuable player to a team in the 10 major conferences. Jackson has a hand in 43.7 percent of BC’s points — either scoring them himself or assisting on teammates’ baskets — heading into Tuesday night’s game at Conte Forum vs. North Carolina.

But if he’s not on the court, Jackson can’t contribute to any baskets.

In BC’s loss to Duke on Thursday night in Durham, N.C., Jackson sat on the bench at the start of both halves. BC coach Steve Donahue on Monday implied it was less a punishment for Jackson and fellow non-starter Danny Rubin than a reward for Corey Raji and Dallas Elmore, who both played well as members of the opening lineup.

“We are trying to get better each and every day, and that’s something that I’ve always done with my teams,” Donahue said. “I thought in my past years at Cornell we’ve always been better in February, and I’ve been trying to continue to find ways to take another step. I think that’s all you saw there, rewarding kids, and I think people try to make it bigger than it is.

“I’m just trying to reward kids that do a great job in practice. I think it’s something that helps each team come every day, knowing that it’s very meaningful what happens in this practice session and that you are going to be rewarded if you play well.”

While Jackson struggled when he did get in against the Blue Devils — registering a season-low seven points — Donahue said the junior responded well upon the team’s return to practice.

“I think it is too early to tell who is going to start on Tuesday, but I’ve been very pleased with everyone’s attitude, including Reggie,” Donahue said. “He’s done a great job coming in and really working extremely hard, as the other guys have, as well.”

BC, loser of three of its last four games, could use a lift this week. The Eagles, surprise leaders of the ACC in the early going, have fallen to a tie for fourth at 4-3 (14-7 overall) and could be in the second division by the end of the night.

On the positive side, BC has defeated UNC in the last two meetings. And with the Tar Heels moving into the Top 25 this week at No. 23, they present the Eagles with a chance for a signature win. BC’s most impressive victory so far was over Texas A&M — a team that was unranked when it lost to BC on Nov. 25 in Orlando but has since played very well, posting a 17-4 record (4-3 in the tough Big 12) and earning a No. 16 ranking.
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The Three-Pointer: Reggie Jackson pulled from starting lineup in loss to Duke 01.27.11 at 11:20 pm ET
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Duke's Nolan Smith drives to the basket past BC's Joe Trapani during the Blue Devils 84-68 victory Thursday night. (AP)

Boston College coach Steve Donahue has made it clear since the start of the season that he takes his team’s practices very seriously, and he uses them to determine which players deserve to play — and start — in games.

Apparently, Donahue felt star guard Reggie Jackson was not bringing his best to the practice gym. Thus, in the team’s biggest game of the season, Jackson did not start either half as the Eagles fell to third-ranked Duke, 84-68, Thursday night in Durham, N.C.

“Practice matters,” was Donahue’s response to the media after the game when asked about Jackson’s demotion.

Perhaps this will light a fire under Jackson and the Eagles going forward. It sure didn’t seem to help much Thursday night, as they lost for the third time in four games to fall to 14-7 overall and 4-3 in ACC play.

The game featured the league’s top two scorers and assist men in Nolan Smith (20.1 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Jackson (19.1 and 4.9). Smith came through as advertised, with 28 points and eight assists to cement his spot atop the league in both categories. He hit 10-of-20 field goals and all seven of his free throws. If he continues this trend, he will be the first player in ACC history to lead the league in scoring and assists.

“Nolan is having a great year, and he had a great year last year, and he’s improved even more,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said earlier this week. “He’s got a lot on his plate for us, especially since [Kyrie Irving's] injury, and handling the ball, defending the ball, scoring the ball, leading the team. He’s done all of those things at the highest level. He’s having an All-American type of year.”

Jackson, meanwhile, was missing in action when the game began. And when he got in, he delivered his third straight subpar performance, finishing with a season-low seven points on 3-of-11 shooting (0-for-4 treys). Jackson began the night second in the league in field goal percentage (.526), first in 3-point percentage (.458) and 10th in free throw percentage (.796). But in the last three games he’s hit just 11-of-36 field goals (.305) and 3-of-15 treys (.200). And he’s missed three of his last five free throws.

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College basketball notebook: Q&A with BC’s Reggie Jackson 01.26.11 at 10:08 pm ET
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Welcome to another weekly edition of WEEI.com’s college basketball notebook, highlighting Boston College and teams throughout the area. This week’s notebook features a lighthearted Q&A with BC’s top player and includes notes on an Eagles legend, a former BC assistant coach having success elsewhere and the top Division 2 and 3 teams in New England.

Boston College guard Reggie Jackson is second in the ACC in scoring, assists and field goal percentage, and he ranks first in 3-point percentage. (AP)

Boston College’s Reggie Jackson entered the season with high expectations, and the junior has delivered on his promise. The 6-foot-3 guard is leading the Eagles in points (19.1), assists (4.9) and steals (1.1) in 34.2 minutes per game. He’s shooting an impressive 53 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range, and his leadership and unselfish play have the Eagles near the top of the ACC standings at 4-2 (14-6 overall) heading into Thursday night’s game at Duke.

“The amazing thing for Reggie has been his IQ for the game,” BC coach Steve Donahue said. “I think he has a great feel for the game.”

The son of a military man, Jackson was born in Italy and also lived in England, North Dakota, Georgia and Florida before settling in Colorado as a sixth grader. He was the Gatorade and Rocky Mountain News Colorado Player of the Year as a senior at Palmer High School, where he also starred in football as a junior.

Jackson took some time to take part in a Q&A on Wednesday before getting on a plane to North Carolina.

Is it true that you first got interested in BC because you were a North Carolina fan and you were cheering for BC to beat Duke in the 2006 ACC tournament final?

Yeah, I believe their inaugural year [in the ACC], they made it to the ACC championship game. They beat UNC [in the semifinals], so I was pretty sick about that. I was a big UNC fan growing up. I still cheer for them when we’re not playing against them.

What’s your favorite pro team?

The Chicago Bulls are No. 1 in my heart, and then shortly after is the Portland Trail Blazers.

Who were your sports idols growing up?

Michael Jordan was always my favorite. And even though we were always battling against [the Lakers], I loved to watch Magic Johnson, because that was my older brother’s [favorite] team. I liked to watch those two.

What is your favorite city to visit?

I really don’t have a favorite city to visit. I just like traveling around. I love visiting Midwest or Western states — just more open road, just the feel of them, the nature of them.

Where is the toughest place to play?

Probably Florida State or Clemson.

What is your favorite team to play against?

I’ve really always enjoyed playing against UNC. Definitely growing up I always wanted to play for them, and I didn’t have the opportunity. So, now to have an opportunity to beat them is epic. Just a dream come true, almost.

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The Three-Pointer: Nothing easy for Eagles in win over Virginia 01.19.11 at 10:17 pm ET
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Boston College entered action Wednesday in a four-way tie atop the ACC at 3-1. Following their game vs. Virginia, the Eagles play the three other one-loss teams in consecutive contests.

So, Wednesday was no time for BC to slip up.

The Eagles made it interesting, but in the end they were able to rebound from their first league loss to hold off pesky Virginia, 70-67, before 4,628 fans at Conte Forum.

“I thought it was a hard-fought game,” BC coach Steve Donahue said. “It felt like a … league game, where each team knows each other very well, neither one gives an inch. They made it very difficult for us to run real good offense, and that’s a credit to Tony [Bennett] and his staff and his players.”

The Eagles (14-5, 4-1 ACC) did not shoot well from 3-point range (6-of-21), but got a strong performance inside from Joe Trapani, who scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Said Donahue: “I give our kids credit for fighting through it for the most part, getting to the foul line, not turning the ball over. What good teams do to figure out how to win games, I thought we did that tonight.”

Reggie Jackson netted 16 points, including the 1,000th of his career, and added seven rebounds and seven assists.

Jackson isn’t much concerned with the milestone. “I didn’t even know I was close until we came in and we were shooting around and the fans were heckling me,” he said. “I’m happy it’s done with. I don’t have to worry about it.”

Also for BC, Biko Paris scored 12 points, including two free throws with 1:30 left that put the Eagles ahead to stay. Corey Raji added 10 points and five rebounds.

Mustapha Farrakhan scored a team-high 14 points for Virginia (10-8, 1-3). Assane Sene, a 7-footer who caused problems in the paint for BC all night, contributed 11 points, a game-high nine rebounds and five blocks.

Here’s the three-pointer of things we learned Wednesday night.

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The Three-Pointer: BC bounces back to beat Georgia Tech 01.08.11 at 7:19 pm ET
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Boston College might be 0-2 against the Ivy League, but the Eagles are 2-0 against the league that matters most.

Reggie Jackson overcame foul trouble to hit 8-of-9 shots and finish with a game-high 25 points in 26 minutes to lead the Eagles past Georgia Tech on Saturday, 86-75, in an ACC game before 6,516 fans at Conte Forum.

Corey Raji contributed 22 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles, and he hit a couple of big baskets down the stretch to thwart a Tech comeback bid. Biko Paris added 11 points and seven assists.

BC shot an impressive 55 percent from the field as it improved to 12-4 overall and 2-0 in the ACC.

Kammeon Holsey led Georgia Tech (7-7, 0-1) with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

The Eagles took control of the game early in the second half. They led 47-45 when they embarked on a 13-2 run. It started with a fastbreak layup and free throw by Jackson, followed by a fastbreak layup by Raji off a nice pass by Paris. When Danny Rubin and then Jackson hit 3-pointers — Jackson’s coming from well behind the arc with the shot clock running down — the Eagles had a 60-47 lead with 14:11 remaining.

The BC lead was down to eight (68-60) when Jackson picked up his fourth personal foul on a charge with 8:34 left, only 11 seconds after he had been reinserted into the game. He returned to the bench, and Tech continued to cut into the lead, getting it to five at 68-63 following a post move by Glen Rice Jr.

Tech was within three points when Raji grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in to make it 74-69 with 2:52 left. Following a big block and rebound by Joe Trapani on the defensive end, Trapani was fouled but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. However, Tech was unable to draw closer.

Raji scored on a nice post move with 1:39 left to make it a seven-point game, and Jackson hit two free throws with 1:14 left for a nine-point margin.

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Joe Trapani leads Eagles in blowout of South Carolina 01.01.11 at 7:42 pm ET
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Senior forward Joe Trapani had 23 points and nine rebounds as Boston College got the new year off to a strong start with an impressive 85-70 rout of South Carolina in a nonconference game in Columbia, S.C.

Corey Raji had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles (11-3). Point guard Biko Paris, who sat out most of the Eagles’ two-point loss to Rhode Island on Wednesday with a right ankle injury, returned to score 18 points. Reggie Jackson contributed 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Bruce Ellington scored a game-high 21 points for South Carolina (8-3).

BC trailed 15-14 midway through the first half when it went on a 21-10 run to take control. Trapani had 10 of the points in that run, including a 3-pointer that ended it. The Eagles held a 44-31 lead at the break and opened the second half on an 8-2 run. The lead peaked at 29 points with 8:14 remaining following a 3-pointer from Raji.

Continuing its habit of shooting 3-pointers at a record pace, the Eagles hit 13-of-32 behind the arc. That left them one shy of the school record for 3-pointers made and four short of the record for attempts. Overall, BC hit 52 percent from the field (33-of-64). BC also won the battle of the boards decisively, with 44 rebounds to the Gamecocks’ 30.

The Eagles return to action Wednesday night (7) when they host Harvard.

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Corey Raji’s late-game heroics lift BC over Maryland 12.12.10 at 7:31 pm ET
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Biko Paris scored a team-high 22 points in BC's 79-75 victory over Maryland on Sunday. (AP)

Biko Paris scored a team-high 22 points in BC's 79-75 victory over Maryland on Sunday. (AP)

Corey Raji is known more for his play down low than at the 3-point arc. Last season, the Boston College power forward did not hit any 3-pointers in three attempts. The year before, he was 1-for-14.

So, when the Eagles needed a big basket on Sunday afternoon at Maryland, of course they turned to Raji for a 3-pointer. The result? Nothing but net.

Raji’s 3-pointer with 37 seconds remaining gave BC a three-point lead, 78-75, and was the winning basket in a 79-75 victory over the Terrapins in the ACC opener for both teams.

Raji scored the game’s final six points, first getting open underneath for a layup with 1:27 remaining to tie the game at 75. Following his clutch trey, he hit the first of two free throws for a four-point lead with 14 seconds left after hauling in the rebound of a missed Maryland 3-point attempt.

Biko Paris, who led BC with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting (6-of-9 treys), was not surprised with Raji’s heroics.

“He’s been doing that his whole career here, so he’s not going to stop now,” Paris said in a postgame phone interview with WEEI.com.  “He’s more comfortable now shooting the 3-ball than he was in the past.”

The Eagles set up the winning play during a timeout. Reggie Jackson drove down the left side and, when help came to block his path, he found Raji drifting over to the top left. Raji calmly swished the open trey.

“When we left the huddle, the play was for Corey to shoot the ball,” Raji said. “I was like, ‘Corey if you’re open, just let it go.’ When he shot it, it looked good, and it dropped. Every time one of my teammates shoots the ball, I think it’s going to go in.”

Jackson scored 16 points, Raji finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, and Joe Trapani netted 10 points for the Eagles, who improved to 8-2 and won their first ACC game under first-year coach Steve Donahue.

“I’m taking it all in because it’s just a great college basketball experience,” Donahue said in the postgame press conference. “I like the fact we played our first one on the road. A little less pressure to win. People don’t expect it, so you go out and make plays and don’t worry about mistakes.”

For Maryland (7-4), Jordan Williams led all scorers with 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting.

BC had another good day shooting 3-pointers, hitting 13-of-29 for 45 percent. Maryland was just 3-of-17 (18 percent).

The Eagles return to action next Sunday (3 p.m.) when they host Bryant.

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Corey Raji to miss BC-UMass game 12.04.10 at 9:04 am ET
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BC forward Corey Raji, who banged his head in Wednesday’s win over Indiana and sat out the second half, will not play when the Eagles take on UMass on Saturday night in the Tip-Off Classic at Boston Garden. Raji, who scored his 1,000th career point Wednesday, is averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds this season.

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